Under-18 Championships wrap: Metro caps off perfect week

VIC METRO finished a triumphant NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships with a thumping 72-point win over Eastern Allies as play shifted to Bond University on the Gold Coast.

With no side named overall champion due to the uneven number of games played over rounds one and two of the competition, Metro were the only side to remain undefeated, also accounting for Vic Country in round one.

Central Allies (South Australia and Northern Territory) will be pleased with its week with Friday's last-gasp one-point win over Queensland taking its win tally to two after failing to register a victory last year.

Vic Country ground out a tough win over a relentless Western Australia in the second day's game. 

VIC METRO   4.4   6.5   8.9   11.9   (75)
EASTERN ALLIES   0.0   0.2   0.3   0.3   (3)

GOALS
Vic Metro:
 Morris-Dalton 2, McClelland 2, Fitzgerald, Harley, Newton, Saxon-Jones, Xenos, van Oosterwijck, Theodore
Eastern Allies:
 Nil

BEST
Vic Metro: 
Newton, Denahy-Moloney, Sansonetti, Lagioia, McClelland, Grant 
Eastern Allies: 
Tarrent, King, O'Donnell, Pease, Favell, Phillips 

A completely dominant performance from Vic Metro capped off an undefeated tournament, while consigning Eastern Allies to a winless week.

Gabby Newton, who did her chances of a top-10 draft selection no harm this week, controlled play throughout the game, with her strong marking a feature.

Defender Sarah Sansonetti was a wall across Eastern's forward 50, while Laura McClelland and Isabella Grant were consistent throughout despite swapping ends at half-time.

For Eastern, NSW's Breanna Tarrent worked tirelessly in defence, taking several strong marks, while Tasmania's Mia King put in another excellent performance on the ball. 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA   2.3   3.4   3.4   3.5   (23)
VIC COUNTRY   0.3   1.4   3.6   3.7   (25)

GOALS
Western Australia:
 Strom, Buckley, Morrison
Vic Country: McEvoy, Barber, Smith

BEST
Western Australia:
 Bowen, Strom, Lewis, O'Donnell, Pescud, Anderson
Vic Country: McEvoy, Molan, Notman, Shannon, Wood, Moloney 

It looked like Western Australia were going to notch a rare win over Vic Country, until a third-quarter burst allowed the Vics to record their third win of the week.

Lucy McEvoy capped off her final championships game after four years for Vic Country with a typically influential performance forward, on ball – and when the match was on the line – down back.

Teammate Sophie Molan was sharp and made good choices, while St Kilda-listed Isabella Shannon showed a clean pair of hands.

Once again, the tough Mikayla Bowen was Western Australia's best, the West Coast-listed midfielder was often found on the bottom of packs.

Ruck Mim Strom was dominant in the air, her leap impressive, while Taylor Pescud found plenty of the ball both in defence and further up the ground.

QUEENSLAND   1.1   3.3   3.4   4.5   (29)
CENTRAL ALLIES   2.0   4.0   4.5   5.0   (30)

GOALS
Queensland:
 Eller, Bradfield, Farquharson, Smith
Central Allies: Breed 2, Williams 2, Lee

BEST
Queensland:
 Hampson, Dawes, Farrar, Levi, Hickie, Farquharson
Central Allies: Charlton, Williams, Munyard, Breed, Ward, Healy

Fittingly, the most entertaining game of the championships came at the very end, with Central Allies holding off a fast-finishing but inaccurate Queensland for a one-point win.

Central/South Australia's Teah Charlton ended her strong carnival with a game-saving tackle in defence, winning a free kick and clearing the ball out of the danger zone.

Teammate (and Northern Territorian) Stephanie Williams has shown flashes of brilliance this week, and was often a step ahead of her opponent up forward, employing plenty of deft taps and high leaps.

Queensland's Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes were clean through the midfield the entire week, often proving elusive and setting up play well, while Serene Watson was crucial behind the ball late.

WHAT'S NEXT?

AFLW under-18 football is now done and dusted for 2019, with an All Australian side – selected in part by list managers and recruiters present at the carnival – to be announced next week.

Players will return to their club and state league sides ahead of the NAB AFLW Combine at the start of October, with the NAB AFLW Draft just a few weeks later.